Nonverbal Communication “The World Beyond Words”
What is Nonverbal Communication? • “Messages expressed by nonlinguistic means.” • Includes silent behaviors, environment, artifacts, and vocal intonation • Is a powerful mode of communication
All Behavior hasCommunicative Value • Because we “cannot not communicate” • May be intentional, but is often unconscious • Although we’re always sending messages through our nonverbals, these messages aren’t always received. • We especially pay attention to nonverbals when they contradict verbal communication.
Nonverbal Communication is Primarily Relational • Responsiveness • Communicates our interest in others’ communication • Women are generally more responsive than men • People in lower-power positions tend to be better at reading nonverbals • Liking – Positive or negative feelings about others • Power • Touch • Violence and Abuse • Space • Silence
(A little more about the relational nature of nonverbals) • Nonverbals are especially important: • For identity management • In defining our relationships (e.g., level of intimacy) • For expressing emotions we don’t want to express, can’t express, or don’t know we’re feeling
NonverbalCommunicationis Ambiguous • The same nonverbal can have multiple meanings • For example: • “I’m feeling content” smiles • “I’m feeling a little stressed” smiles • “I’m a bit sad” smiles • “I can’t believe you just did that” smiles • “How do I get out of this conversation?” smiles
Nonverbal Communication Reflects Cultural Values Some Examples… • Space • Americans tend to value more personal space than many other cultures • Men tend to value more personal space than women • Touch (Knapp, 1972) • Americans – 2 touches per hour • British – 0 touches per hour • Parisians – 110 touches per hour • Puerto Ricans – 180 touches per hour • Eye-Contact • In North-America: frankness, assertiveness, honesty • In many Asian and northern-European countries: abrasive & disrespectful • In Brazil: more intense eye-contact is the norm
The Interplay Between Verbal and Nonverbal Communication • Repeating • Your nonverbals simply repeat what you’ve said • Substituting • Your nonverbals replace language • Emblems (e.g., nodding) • Complementing & Accenting • Your nonverbals add depth and meaning to your language • Illustrators/Affect displays • Regulating • Your nonverbals help regulate the conversation • Contradicting • You say one thing, but your nonverbals say another
Deception • Nonverbals are under less conscious control, so deception is more likely to be revealed through our nonverbals. • High self-monitors and people who have lots of practice in deception are most successful at it. • Women tend to be better at detecting deception. • “Deceivers” tend to make more speech errors, to hesitate, to have higher vocal pitch, to fidget, blink their eyes more, and shift their posture more.
Face and Eyes • Over 1000 distinct facial expressions • Eyes can be especially expressive • “Windows to the soul” • Men and women have been found to be equally expressive • Men show the most emotion in the lower left quadrant of their face • Women show emotion over their whole face
Body Movement/Kinesics • Body posture • Gestures • Manipulators/Fidgeting An aside…
Touch • Touching is considered essential and therapeutic • Touching can influence liking and compliance • Is used to show intimacy or power/control • People with high status touch others/invade others’ spaces more than people with lower status
Voice/Paralanguage • Consists of vocal tone, speed, pitch, volume, number and length of pauses, and disfluencies (“um”s, “ah”s), etc. • Paralanguage tends to be more powerful than language • Affects how other’s perceive us • Stereotyping (e.g., accents, vocabulary, grammar • Influenced by culture, gender, class (intentionally or unintentionally) An illustration…
Try saying “You love me” to convey the following meanings: • You really do? I hadn’t realized that. • That ploy won’t work. I told you we’re through. • You couldn’t possibly love me after what you did! • Me? I’m the one you love? • You? I didn’t think you loved anyone.
Silence • Can communicate contentment, awkwardness, anger, respect, thoughtfulness, empathy • Can also be disconfirming
Space/Proxemics Personal Space • Intimate distance • Personal distance • Social distance • Public distance Barrier behaviors and territory You are here
Time/Chronemics • Our use of time reflects: • Power/status • Cultural norms • Expectations • Interpersonal priorities
Physical Appearance • “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” • We tend to notice obvious things first (gender, race), then note attractiveness • Physically attractive people generally are perceived better • Importance placed on physical appearance can be very damaging • It’s what we do with it that’s most important
Artifacts • Include clothing, jewelry, personal belongings, accessories, etc. • Communicate economic level, educational level, trustworthiness, social position, level of sophistication, economic background, social background, educational background, level of success, moral character, masculinity/femininity • Important part of first impressions
Environment • Communicates something about you • We surround ourselves with things that are important/meaningful to us • Use artifacts to define our territory • Can influence interactions • How people use an environment communicates something about them
Monitor Your Nonverbal Communication • Be Tentative When Interpreting Others’ Nonverbal Communication • Nonverbals are personal and ambiguous • Personal Qualifications: • Take responsibility for your interpretations • Use “I” language to check your perceptions of nonverbals • Contextual Qualifications: • Be aware of how the context might be influencing others’ nonverbals • Be aware of how different cultural norms might influence others’ nonverbals • Be careful not to jump to conclusions based on your own cultural norms